Jagriti Yatra Day Four: It rained business philosophy

Keeping up with the title of the post, I would like to put some great quotes from some of the most successful entrepreneurs, young and old, we met today on #JagritiYatra role model visit:

“See volume as ally, population is not a problem it’s an opportunity” ~Subroto Bagchi, Co-Founder & Chairman, Mindtree

“Risk is overrated in India, we take more risk crossing the road than making a company.” ~Subroto Bagchi

“Aim was to make money for thousands, a business to become a vehicle for change.” ~Subroto Bagchi

“Companies don’t fail due to businesses, they fail due to internal issues.” ~Subroto Bagchi

“Final takeaway for me (in life) is that every arrival has a departure and every departure has an arrival” ~Subroto Bagchi

“Issues are not issues, it can be an opportunity” ~Shiv kumar, Founder, Exotel

“Always listen to that one person who shares your vision deeper than you.” ~Sachin Bansal, Co-founder, Flipkart

“Do your ninety nine mistakes as soon as possible.” ~Abhinav Sinha, Founder, Eko Financial Services

We met a great batch of people who made it quite big in their areas. Subroto Bagchi is a known name and so is Sachin Bansal and other two. Today was the day when we talked about technology, with more emphasis on technology as a tool to smoothen various processes in the area of business.

At the Yatra, we have seven verticals (categories) where all of us need to focus as per our preferences which range from Education to Agriculture, Healthcare, Water & Sanitation, Energy, Manufacturing and Arts, Culture & Sports. And then there are four horizontals which are needed for enterprise to function smoothly and be replicated with a good financial viability. These horizontals are: Information & Communications Technology, Public Private Partnership, Financial Services and Business Services.

Though technology itself is a vertical but our focus was more on technology as a horizontal which enables businesses to have structure, efficiency and optimum utilisation of available resources. And a great thing was that two groups (including mine, total 40 people) had to give a presentation on it for an hour.

Being my favourite area, and trying to understand the use of technology in a different way made sure that the presentation was a great success. I was pretty sure that my fellow Yatris would perceive our presentation as bad because they would treat it not as an enabler rather a vertical itself. So, I made it clear what technology meant in this situation and why our focus was completely different than what everyone expected.

Anyway, the role models, especially Subroto Bagchi was an inspiration. He started with drawing trains as a three-year old kid from a household with no electricty to founding one of the most sought after technology consultancy and platform creators in our nation, Mindtree Technology.

Emphasising on his way of thinking that his aim was having a great setup where people could earn money and not just the owners, he went on to share his philosophy behind his efforts. Bagchi talked why it is good to fail but one must keep the entrepreneur alive even when the enterprise fails.

These were simple words, rich in meaning. I hope my fellow Yatris took home a lot of these simple words and must apply it wherever required, you don’t get to see these extraordinary people say, “Mindtree was ordinary people doing extraordinary things together.”

He said how ten of the co founders of Mindtree were all from very humble, lower middle class or middle class background. He stressed on the fact that we ought to have people, the team, which shares our vision. Money is a secondary thing, having a great team is a must for an enterprise to function smoothly and become financially viable.

Saying ‘reputation’ was the new money and a one-way road when lost, he remarked that one must not do any such act or thing that ruins the reputation as it takes a good time to have a name and a second to lose it all.

One of the employees of Mindtree with a weird designation of CCD or Chief Cool Dude, Prashant Mehra, then took over to talk about his initiative of integrating technology to structure a rag picker’s life via I Got Garbage.

This initiative was aimed at mapping the ragpickers of Banglore, providing them waste collection centres and giving them a life in the day (they start their job at 11 in night and end before five) when they could go, pick the waste, sell it at a reasonably great price. Mindtree wouldn’t take a penny out of it.

They just created a platform where all the rag pickers were profiled, their daily collection was updated in cloud, enabling the NGOs that worked for them to make a serious difference of almost 5000 bucks per month to the existing Rs 7-8000.

What companies like Mindtree does is, it gives businesses a platform or a tool to gather, process, analyse and optimise data and take proper measures to ensure growth and scalability. And that was a perfect example of a literal rags to riches kind of story where Mindtree just created a platform and 25,000 rag pickers of Banglore at present and a million others in India (in near future) can earn a decent middle class income.

This great insight was followed by a panel discussion between Sachin Bansal, Abhinav Sinha and Shiv Kumar on their journey and challenges they faced as start ups and how can their models be replicated, their philosophy of marketing, their vision, attitude etc.

And it was inspiring. Young people earning crores of rupees and yet looking humble and talking simple was a lesson in humility.

I am looking forward to visiting Arvind Eye Care where we will get a chance to interact with doctors, see their hospitals, labs and try to critically analyse their business model and whether or not it can be sustainably replicated elsewhere.

#JagritiYatra2013 #Mindtree #SubrotoBagchi #ArvindEyeCare #SachinBansal #Flipkart #Technology #ICT

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